Category Archives: care homes

The value of a life in a care home

The Health & Safety Executive publishes a very sad story here and it is indeed a message to all those – including care providers –  who fail to understand the importance of systems, care plans, risk assessments, record-keeping, staff training and communication.  To mention but a few.

“The UK’s biggest care home provider has been ordered to pay £170,000 in fines and costs after a vulnerable resident choked to death on fish and chips during an entertainment evening at its Chorley premises.”

“The company, of Groves Road in Douglas, Isle of Man, was fined £125,000 and ordered to £45,000 towards the cost of the prosecution.”

“Our hope is that the seriousness and financial implications of this case for the company will ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again at a Four Seasons or any other care home. This would mean that Rita’s tragic death will not have been entirely in vain.”

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A caring care home with a pub in the garden

A care home that listens to the residents and fulfils their desires.

“A “pub” has been set up in the grounds of a care home in Shrewsbury after residents were asked for suggestions for the garden.

Coton Hill House expected requests for flowers or benches but pensioners instead called for somewhere they could enjoy their favourite tipple.

The opening of Ye Ole Coton Arms summerhouse was celebrated with a barbecue and free bar.

It will stay open for the rest of the summer.”

Thanks to BBC News for this uplifting story.  I sincerely hope that summer lasts a very long time this year, extends to the Christmas period and well into the New Year.

“”It is free of charge to all residents, and, as expected, is proving to be very
popular with them.”

Congratulations to Coverage Care Services Limited.

May the residents go from strength to strength, and may their elbows enjoy the exercise.

I’ll be raising a glass to Alison Gough and all at Coton Hill House.

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Care UK regrets they weren’t able to care for you, madam

With apologies and thanks to Cole Porter and Ella Fitzgerald, two of your favourites.

Care UK regrets they weren’t able to care for you, madam.

Care UK regrets they weren’t able to care for you.

They can’t even apologise.

Best they can do is  just general regret, madam.

Care UK regrets they weren’t able to care for you.

Care UK strives to provide appropriate care for all their residents across the various services that they run.”  Allegedly.

It is always a matter of regret if a service is not provided as they would wish.”   Allegedly.

Apparently I “clearly consider that there were failings in the care provided” to you.  I most certainly do, and I’m not alone in that opinion.

Care UK’s solicitor has been asked “to pass on their regret in respect of this”.

Care UK has been made aware of the fact that Catherine Igbokwe and Sheila Ali have both been struck off the register by the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) for misconduct and for failing you miserably, and that Maria Rholyn Secuya (nee Baquerfo) has received a 3 year caution order for misconduct and for failing you miserably, and that Dahlia Dela Cerna (nee Enriquez) has received a 2 year caution order for misconduct and for failing you miserably.

Care UK can only  come up with an expression of general regret, via a third party at that.  General regret is overworked these days.

Care UK promised to provide a substantial sum in your memory, acknowledging that it failed miserably to provide care to you, and so that we would be able to establish what Care UK’s then Managing Director of Residential Care called “a positive contribution to the world of dementia”. In your memory.   Care UK has now broken that promise.  How foolish we were to place our trust in Care UK.

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Care in the UK – 5 years on – Part 3

This day five years ago, 31 December 2007, was a difficult one for many reasons.  I know that you won’t wish me to go into the detail of some of those reasons here.

We drove to London again and spent 4 hours at the Whittington Hospital dealing with various formalities. Most of the morning we spent in the PALS office (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) and talking on the phone with the Coroner’s Office and with one of the hospital doctors involved in your care.  We grabbed a coffee and  left at about 1 o’clock, having decided that we did not want to have to return to that part of London again in the near future.

That’s why we went – on the spur of the moment, unplanned and unannounced – to Lennox House to collect your belongings and avoid the need to go back there again.  While you were still alive, just, I’d already asked the manager to send me a copy of everything on your records.   On 20 December 2007 I received a copy of a document that Care UK calls the ‘Daily Record’ .  It was only 9 pages so I asked the manager to copy and send everything else.  It was the only document I’d seen then, but it gave a good indication of the very days when you must have been desperate for help, but no indication of any help being given.

We parked the car and were able to walk straight into Lennox House.  So much for security.  The manager was at reception, but she didn’t recognise us.  She’d only met us once before,  back in August 2007 when we went on a recce to Lennox House, just one of the care homes we looked at.  There was no reason she should have recognised us.  I introduced myself and explained that we’d come to collect your belongings.  She said she’d just been speaking with your niece on the phone and she was planning to collect your things.  It was easier for us to do it there and then, as that niece doesn’t drive.  She also said that she was just writing a note to me, to accompany the paperwork I had asked for.  I said I’d take it all with me and save her the trouble of posting it.

We went to your room, and packed your things; a few were missing, especially two rings.  I asked for them – but I was assured you had not had any rings on your fingers when you arrived in Lennox House.  It was an uncomfortable thing to hear, because we ‘d bought one of those rings, the ruby ring, for your 80th birthday.  The sapphire and diamond ring had been on your finger for the last 60 years –  more years than I care to remember.  I’d noticed you were wearing both rings when we last saw you there, in November.  Eventually, the staff managed to come up with one of the rings.  The other one never surfaced.

We went down to reception.  I was asked to go into the manager’s office, while “His Lordship” as you always called him took your things to the car, before returning.  In that office, I was subjected to an inquisition.  I was expected to go through every single line of the Daily Record and explain my concerns to the manager, as she wrote alterations on the pages.  I thought I’d already done that on the phone earlier in December, but I still had to go through it all again.  It became impossible for me, and I left the office in tears saying I just couldn’t go on with it.  We had spent 4 hours at the Whittington Hospital, and I was exhausted.

I told the manager much of what we’d been through when you were in hospital, including being asked to explain how your diabetes was so out of control.  I’d already spoken with the GP who hadn’t bothered to look at the meds you were taking, when she’d been called to the home, and who told me she was not aware that you were a diabetic.  If she had been given a list of the meds you were taking it would have been obvious to her that you were a diabetic.  If one of the nurses had told the GP you were a diabetic, she might have treated you differently.   (She’d never met you before, as you were new to the care home and new to the surgery providing services to that care home.)  Interestingly, it was only from that Daily Record that I discovered the GP had spoken with Lennox House (on 14 December 2007, while you were in hospital) before she returned my call to her that day.

The manager told me that there were no available glucose strips in that home,  because the GP does not prescribe them.  The manager told me that Care UK wouldn’t provide them either.  To say that I was shocked, again, would be an understatement.  I volunteered to pay for a year’s supply so that no other person with diabetes would ever arrive in A&E in a diabetic coma, like you did.  With much of your bloods and tests ‘deranged’ .

I’m still trying to work out why those same words about glucose strips being unavailable are written in your care home notes, in the Daily Record for 7 December 2007.  It’s such a strange few lines to have been added to someone’s personal care record.  After all, you weren’t the only resident with diabetes, so  it strikes me as a very strange addition to your records.  Contemporaneous?  I doubt it.

The manager said “we have taken steps to make sure this never happens again”.

That was too late for you.  You only had one chance.

What I didn’t know until much later (namely July 2008)  was that a ‘Complaints Form’ came into being on this day, five years ago.  Its purpose was to indicate that ‘a meeting had been arranged’ to discuss my concerns, all of which appear to have been resolved that very day.  I learned from CSCI (Commission for Social Care Inspection) that a ‘meeting had been arranged’ this day, 5 years ago, to discuss my concerns.   It must be the first ‘meeting’ where people stood to ‘discuss’, rather than sat comfortably.   CSCI asked for a copy of the minutes of that meeting.  CSCI is now the CQC (Care Quality Commission).  There were no minutes – because it was not a meeting.  It was a chance encounter.   (More about this all another time.)

I left Lennox House in tears.  This day 5 years ago.

You deserved better care.

(To be continued)

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Care in the UK – 5 years on – Part 2

This day, 5 years ago, was obviously a day of quiet reflection for us, as will be today.  It’ll give me a chance to update this blog over events while you were in intensive care.

All we could do when you arrived in hospital, on Saturday 8 December 2007, was sit with you in ITU, where you were transferred once you had been stabilised in A&E, and once we had discussed with the Consultants.  Questions were beginning to formulate in our minds, caused by the very questions we were asked by the Consultants, but it was a weekend so there was no chance of contacting the social worker or the care home manager.  We left messages on the social worker’s answering system.

The first question we were asked was to explain how your diabetes had come to be so out of control.  Our answer: we never knew it was out of control.  It was as if we were being held responsible.  Only later did we discover that, for some unexplained reason, the paperwork indicated that you lived with us, rather than that you lived in Lennox House in London.  That was our first realisation that the paperwork needed to be looked at with a close eye.  We were asked many more questions, of course, and we were told much about your condition on arrival.  Shocking was your condition.

On the Monday, still in ITU, I had a sudden thought.  The social worker had declared herself “the decision maker” when it came to deciding where you should live.  We were not even invited to the ward round meeting where this important decision about you was made.  She was “the appointed decision maker”, she said.

So, I wondered why she had not responded to my phone message.  After all, surely she should be making decisions now too, shouldn’t she, if she had taken so much power away from us, and from you.   But the social worker was conspicuous by her absence and by her silence.

Then, you were moved into isolation because it was decided you had C-Diff (Clostridium Difficile).   So you spent the next few days in isolation, with us as close as we could get to you.

Still no contact from the social worker.

We had to leave you to go to the funeral of a dear friend, and we were away for a couple of days.  I managed to speak with the social worker and with the care home manager.  I was polite but firm when I asked the care home manager to explain to me exactly what had happened in the days that I hadn’t been with you.  The social worker told me that she had asked for a report from the care home, so I asked to see a copy of it when it emerged.  I never did get to see it.   I also asked the Lennox House care home manager for a copy of every single page of the care home notes, records, paperwork that arrived with you, paperwork that went with you when Lennox House care home sent you by ambulance to A&E.

When I mentioned that you had C-Diff, the care home manager told me that you had had an episode of C-Diff when you were in Highgate Mental Health Unit’s assessment ward, just before discharge from there. That was news to me.  I said I found it surprising the care home had accepted you, and I asked why it hadn’t been mentioned before.  Her words will never leave me.  She said that it often happened that people arrived in the care home with C-Diff, but it wasn’t necessarily mentioned on the paperwork.  She said the same applied to MRSA.

To say that I was stunned would be an understatement.  I was beginning to get used to shock.

I learned that you had been seen by  a GP  – the manager said you’d been seen the Wednesday before admission to hospital.  Not true.  A GP had only been summoned  by the sending of two faxes – yes, faxes – two hours apart on Friday 7 December 2007.  But nobody declared that when the first investigation was carried out.  (More about that another day.)

You were moved out of isolation and ITU to a general ward.  You regained consciousness only briefly, and one day they managed to get you from bed to chair.  Just the once.

You spoke only two words.  “Thank you.”  The last words you ever spoke.

Tomorrow is another day – and it certainly was, 5 years ago.

You deserved better care.

(To be continued)

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Care in the UK over two weeks in December 2012

1 December 2012: TENS of thousands of vulnerable people are being physically and mentally abused by the very people meant to be caring for them. Disturbing figures reveal that 130,000 adults were ill treated – usually at the hands of carers or family. Abuse most often took place in their own home or care home.  Read more here.

1 December 2012: Abuse of elderly patients by NHS staff rises by a third in one year with a  shocking 36,000 offences reported last year alone.  Read more here.

1 December 2012: Care home regulation criticised by Norman Lamb.  Regulation of the care sector is not fit for purpose, care minister Norman Lamb has said as he unveiled proposals on English care homes for consultation. He also said there was a “significant lack of corporate accountability for the quality of care”. One suggested measure involves companies having to open up their books to inspectors to ensure they are financially sound. Read more here.

1 December 2012: Care home companies could be forced to open books to prevent another ‘Southern Cross’ collapse.  Read more here.

4 December 2012: Care home job advertisements ‘encouraging’ criminals to apply.  Convicted criminals have been encouraged to apply for jobs in care homes looking after frail, elderly people.  Read more here.

4 December 2012: Ann Clwyd, Labour MP tells of inhumane treatment and says she fears normalisation of cruelty now rife among NHS nurses.  Ann Clwyd has said her biggest regret is that she didn’t “stand in the hospital corridor and scream” in protest at the “almost callous lack of care” with which nurses treated her husband as he lay dying in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff.  Read more here.

4 December 2012: Melton Court care home to be closed by Friday. The manager of a South Yorkshire care home, which has been ordered to close by Friday, says she is in talks with two potential new providers. The 21 residents at Melton Court in Maltby have to find new homes, after it emerged the owner is in prison. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) revoked Ishtiaq Zahir’s licence and said the home is operating illegally.  Read more here.

5 December 2012: A PENSIONER with Alzheimer’s died after she plunged down a lift shaft when the door was left unsecured, a court heard yesterday. Annfield Plain company faces health and safety charges after tragedy.   Read more here.

5 December 2012: Wrexham – Concerns over care at mental health hospital.  Read more here.

6 December 2012: Leicester – Dementia sufferer ‘left in agony’ at George Hythe House care home in Beaumont Leys, court hears.  An 89-year-old dementia sufferer was left in agony for four hours with a broken thigh  because a care home supervisor could not be bothered to assess her, a   jury heard. Sarah Bewley was “too busy” doing paperwork to see the woman after she suffered a fall, despite several requests from a care assistant, it was claimed.  Read more here.  See below.

7 December 2012: Regulator moves closer to setting up ‘negative register’ of adult care staff.   If the proposals are approved by government, a national code of conduct would be applied to workforce and the HCPC would consider serious complaints made about individual professionals; any decisions to uphold a complaint would be made public, as would the resulting sanction.

A “negative register” would be maintained of those found unfit to practise.  Read more here.

7 December 2012:  Leicester – Jury clears Leicester care home boss of neglect charge.  After the not guilty verdict was announced, Judge Lynn Tayton QC said: “This case raises very worrying issues, particularly concerning systems that seemed to be in place which created a situation in which no-one took responsibility for the care of this lady.  “She was left in severe and unnecessary pain for a number of hours.”I hope those in charge of the home have looked at the systems and the staff training.” Read more here.

7 December 2012:   Chorley, Lancs – A care-home worker and her husband who subjected  their children to years of horrific abuse were facing jail yesterday after being  convicted of cruelty.  Read more here.
8 December 2012: Wolverhampton – An investigation has been launched into safeguarding at a care home, which helps people with mental health, drugs and alcohol problems.  Read more here.
8 December 2012: Derby – A national health watchdog has issued a damning report on a privately-run Derby care home.  The Care Quality Commission has told the company  that owns Cleeve Villas Nursing Home, in Wilson Street, to do more to protect the safety and welfare of residents – or face legal action.  Among the problems identified were:
  • No organised stock control system of medicines
  • Failure of staff to update crucial medical documents
  • Care plans reviews not completed on time
  • Failure to ensure prescribed medicines were always available
  • Medicine doses not being documented, meaning it was unclear whether medications had been administered
  • No appropriate systems in place for the safe disposal of medicines when they were no longer required.

Read more here.

Read the CQC report on Cleeve Villas here.

That list of failures is just the kind of thing most people don’t know about, so  awareness raised to the top is what we need in the world of care.

When it comes to the comment made by the spokeswoman for Cleeve Villas Care Services : “As a dedicated provider of care services, we at Cleeve Villas have taken on board the suggestions from CQC as to how to enhance our overall performance and have already taken steps working with a specialist healthcare consultancy to address these.”Our aim as always is to ensure the individual and complex needs of our residents are met.”

I don’t believe you.  Yet.  This is not the first CQC detailing same/similar problems.   What has taken you so long to show that you care enough to provide good quality care?

9 December 2012: Vulnerable care home residents are treated like “brutes or malfunctioning machines”, said Hilary Mantel, the author, as she spoke of the “utterly depressing” search to find accommodation for a disabled friend.  Read more here.

10 December 2012:  We haven’t a clue how much a care home will cost us.  The vexed question of how we pay for the care needs of Britain’s ageing population rears its ugly head so often that it is no wonder everyone thinks it is a pain in the neck.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Star ratings: Families need reliable information on care home performance.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Preventative care for elderly under threat.  Services have been cut or frozen by two-thirds of local councils since coalition came to power, according to ComRes study.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: A Birmingham care home is being investigated by council and health bosses amid  allegations of neglect.  Bramley Court Care Home, in School Road, Yardley Wood, is facing the probe  after a complaint was made about the standard of care given to elderly  residents. New admissions have been suspended while a joint investigation is carried out  by the city council and NHS Birmingham and Solihull.  It is not the first time the home has been in the spotlight over its  treatment of residents. In August a report by watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, found residents  were being put at risk of not receiving adequate food and drink.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Winterbourne View scandal prompts new care guidelinesReport warns that care sector risks slipping back into institutional culture typified by Victorian asylum system.

The report warns that, elsewhere, staffing cuts caused by reduced fees paid to care providers are causing residents to be left alone for hours at a time and are fostering excessive reliance on use of drugs and on physical restraint, “often for minor perceived misdemeanours”.

Brendan Sarsfield, Family Mosaic’s chief executive, said: “We would argue that if providers don’t believe this has ever happened in their services, it just may be that they haven’t looked hard enough.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Care home provider Family Mosaic has warned that the care sector is in danger of slipping back into the institutional ways of the past and is urging care providers “not to be complacent” and be vigilant for danger signs of abuse.  Read more here.

10 December 2012: Winterbourne View scandal: Government rethinks use of hospitals.  Norman Lamb said “”We need to have a situation where people who run care organisations – public or private sector or voluntary – know that they are accountable for the services they provide and there are consequences if they don’t.”  You can’t argue with that so let’s home he brings about accountability.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: Copthorne, Sussex – Care home boss suspended over death of patient.  A care home manager has been suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council over allegations she shredded a document to cover up a mistake which led to the death of a resident. The resident of  Orchid View care home in Copthorne was given three times the prescribed dosage of Warfarin, a drug used to prevent blood clots, over 17 days in 2010. Read more here.

12 December 2012: Stockton care home boss denies a catalogue of failures.  Meal times at the home were “appallingly organised” and 15 out of 17 patients  lost weight over a one-month period, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: York care home warned to make urgent improvements.  The Care Quality Commission has issued a formal warning to Mimosa Healthcare (No 4) Limited, which is the registered provider of Birchlands Care Home, that they are failing to protect the safety and welfare of the people using the service.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: Wall Heath care home told to shape up or face enforcement action.  The Care Quality Commision (CQC) is demanding an improvement in the standards of care at Holbeche House after inspectors found failings during an unannounced visit in October.  The Wolverhampton Road home, which is run by Four Seasons (Bamford) Limited, was found to be below standards for the care and welfare of service users and assessing and monitoring the quality of services.  Andrea Gordon, deputy director of operations (central region) for CQC, said: “The law says these are the standards that everyone should be able to expect. Providers have a duty to ensure they are compliant.  Read more here.

12 December 2012: Nurse at Rodborough care home slept with vulnerable female patient and invited another to swingers’ parties. Trevor Rice, a senior triage mental health nurse at Park House Mental Health Resource Centre, was formally removed from his post by a Nursing and Midwifery Council disciplinary committee on November 23.   Read more here.

12 December 2012: A bungling nurse who was cleared to work in Sussex despite making a number of shocking errors is being investigated for a second time.   Nicanor Sindanum made national headlines after he was allowed to continue to work as a nurse despite being found guilty of 17 serious errors by a nursing panel while working in Scotland.   In June this year a nine-month banning order imposed by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) in September 2011 was revoked and replaced with conditions of practice order.  This meant that, despite his failings, Sindanum was allowed to start work for an Eastbourne care home so long as he told bosses that he had restrictions placed on him. But now it has emerged that Sindanum faces a second investigation for alleged failings dating from 2009.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Slyne-with-Hest, Lancashire – Four people have been charged with offences under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 following a police investigation into the mistreatment of residents at a care home in Slyne.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Wales – More should be done to reduce Wales’ reliance on using care homes as a way to look after older people, says a group of Assembly Members.  The assembly’s health committee has backed moves to help people keep their independence for as long as possible. Families need simple and accessible information about the options available for elderly relatives, it said. It pointed out that many elderly people who pay for their own care were unaware of the help available to them.  Read more here.

13 December 202: Panshanger, Welwyn, Herts -Massive arrogance’ jibe as ‘out of scale’ care home plans thrown out.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Morpeth, Northumberland – Coroner hits out at care of woman in Morpeth home.  Mr Brown, recording a narrative verdict, yesterday concluded the fall “did  play a part” in Mrs McEwan’s death as the fractured femur caused immobility  which made her more susceptible to the fatal complaint. The coroner also found three serious failures in the care of Mrs McEwan.

He ruled senior carer Stephanie Wilson had left Mrs McEwan’s bed in an  elevated position, moments before she fell while trying to get into it.

Furthermore, Mr Brown said staff had failed by phoning a doctor’s surgery  instead of an ambulance after the fall, even though Mrs McEwan was in obvious  pain and in need of such care immediately.

Finally, the coroner said workers had been wrong to lift Mrs McEwan back on  the bed, saying they should have left her where she was comfortable until the  ambulance arrived.

Mr Brown nevertheless accepted that staff had been misguided and in need of  better training rather than motivated by malice.  Read more here.

13 December 2012: Croydon  – Are Croydon care homes up to the job of looking after borough’s most vulnerable?  Nearly a third of care homes in the south of the borough are failing patients and residents in one or more key standard, an Advertiser investigation has found.

Campaigners for better care say the findings paint a “dire” picture for sick and elderly people at a time when savings in care provision are set to be enforced.

Among those that are failing in one or more key standard are homes which charge elderly people up to £800 a week.

Stuart Routledge, chief executive of Age UK Croydon, said: “It is appalling that any nursing home should fail to protect the dignity and respect of their patients and residents.

“This survey underpins the urgency for social care funding reform so that those older people who struggle daily with chronic ill health, frailty and disability have the peace of mind that they will be well cared for at their time of need.

“In particular, this shows the dire consequences of a social care system that has been under increasing financial pressure over the last eight years and in many areas is now financially stripped to the bone.

“Staff across health and care services have a professional and moral duty to make sure the dignity of their patients and residents is enshrined in every action. This means involving people in decisions about their care, providing care that treats people with respect and helping people to be as independent possible.”

Read more here.

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Neglect and abuse in care in the UK in November 2012

Some people try to convince me that cases of neglect and abuse of vulnerable people in care in the UK are extremely rare.  Some people also try to convince me that those who talk of such cases are scaremongering.

Below is just a selection of cases of neglect and abuse of vulnerable people in care in the UK over the month of November 2012.  It is a selection and by no means all of the cases I came across.  The dates are the publication dates.

5 November 2012:   Britain’s biggest care home owners ‘have £5 billion debts’.      Read more here.

5 November 2012: Nottingham – Police are investigating an elderly care home in Nottingham which closed after  having its council contract suspended.  Read more here.

6 November 2012: Suffolk – The great care home giveaway: Tory council calls in the private sector.   Suffolk County Council has agreed a multimillion pound deal with the private sector to take over its care homes amid fresh calls for financial regulation to protect elderly residents and the taxpayer.

The council’s 16 aging homes will be closed by 2015 and 10 new homes (and wellbeing centres) built – giving the county 104 extra beds to help meet growing demand.

The first five will be built and owned by Schroders UK Property Fund – who will lease the homes back to Care UK. The land is being given to Schroders for free by the council with unrestricted freeholds.   Read more here.

9 November 2012: Dementia patient found wandering in the freezing night ten miles from home after carer ‘forgot’ about him – Read more here.

9 November 2012: – Devon -Council breached equality duty in setting care home fees.  Authority to review care home fees after High Court found it failed to consider impact of possible home closures on vulnerable residents.  Read more here.

19 November 2012: Hayling Island – three women arrested as police investigate claims of neglect at a care home – Read more here.

19 November 2012: Olney, Northamptonshire – two women charged in connection with neglect at a residential home – Read more here.

19 November 2012: Luton – woman denies neglect after an elderly woman with dementia was left on a bus in Luton overnight – Read more here.

19 November 2012: St Saviour, Jersey – A care home nurse threatened to teach a  colleague a lesson by beating her up ‘in the African way’ during an aggressive  outburst, a tribunal heard. Read more here.

20 November 2012: Buckinghamshire – two care home workers charged with neglecting patients at care home for dementia sufferers – each charged with 19 counts  of wilfully neglecting a person without capacity between August 18 and 19, 2011 – Read more here.

23 November 2012: Archway, London – Whittington Hospital – two senior nurses ignored plight of epileptic 17 year old who suffered 5 epileptic fits in the space of 24 hours and died four days later – Read more here.

26 November 2012: Swindon, Wiltshire – Selena House Care Home, Stratton St Margaret to close in December “over safety fears” – The CQC report said the home had failed to meet 11 government standards,  including care and welfare, dignity, cleanliness and infection control. Read more here.

27 November 2012: Goole, Yorkshire – Three Women Arrested after elderly woman is injured ‘while unattended’, allegedly, in care home . Read more here.

27 November 2012: Chingford, Essex – Chingford rehab unit so understaffed patients were left to wet the bed, watchdog finds.  Vulnerable patients’ dignity was compromised by poorly trained staff at a rehab unit where dementia was mistaken for a learning difficulty, according to a damning watchdog report. Read more here.

27 November 2012: Cambridgeshire – Abacus Care Cambridgeshire  has been issued with a formal warning by a health watchdog after failing to meet standards for a second time. Read more here.

27 November 2012: Great Wyrley, Staffs –  care home worker stole cash and personal belongings from residents and staff to help fund her drug habit.  Read more here.

28 November 2012: What can be done to ensure care home residents get quality healthcare? Reports suggest the availability of doctors in care homes has fallen short of what residents are entitled to. So what can be done to ensure these patients get the care they deserve?  Read more here.

30 November 2012: Maltby, Sth Yorks – Melton Court care home residents face pre-Christmas move after it emerged the home’s owner is in prison serving a sentence for causing grievous bodily harm.  Read more here.

And finally, as December 2012 arrives we find:

1 December 2012: Care home regulation not fit for purpose, says care minister Norman LambRead more here.

Better late than never, I guess, but what took you so long to work that one out?

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The cost of care

In a funny sort of way, it’s comforting to read this BBC report about a care home provider having just opened a brand new care home providing “en-suite rooms, a hair salon, a library, landscaped gardens and a private dining  room for special occasions”.  It’s even more comforting to learn that all rooms will be equipped with sensors to alert staff if someone falls or has stopped moving.  Tht doesn’t guarantee the staff will respond, of course.

Don’t stop reading yet – because it gets better by the line.

A 12-week induction training period – including dementia care –  for all staff, and that means all staff including the handyman.  Is that 5 days a week? No, surely not.  Is that one day a week for 12 weeks?  No, doubt it.  Is that one hour per week for 12 weeks?  Sounds more likely …. but as long as that  12-week induction training period remains undefined, it may sound great but it could grate later on.  So it could be as little and as meaningless as possible.  But affordable, as far as Anchor is concerned.

The staffing ratio is to be one carer to five residents, so that customers can be cared for the way Anchor wants them to be cared for.

Residents will be able to choose what they eat and when they eat it.  So presumably they will also be able to choose when they go to bed, rather than being treated like little children and made to undress and get ready for bed at 7 pm.

This is all designed for the so-called baby boomer, property rich generation, who will be self-funding their care for the foreseeable future.  Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor and head of the English Community Care Association, says: “They have higher expectations, they have grown up in a world with all the mod cons and been to hotel rooms with all the modern facilities.

“They will demand that for themselves and also their parents who are in the system now. It is about offering a wide range of services to cater for everyone’s needs.”

So, anyone who is not in that baby boomer, property rich generation will not be so comfortable, because they won’t get a look in once the trend moves towards luxury care homes for self-funders only.  Yet, they and their relatives also have high expections of the word ‘care’ and of the world of ‘care’.

Hang on a minute!  Wait a minute!  Shouldn’t the standards of care being offered in this brand new Anchor care home, West Hall, West Byfleet, be the standards of care that every single person needing care home care should be able to expect?

Or is it only to be made available to those paying £1425 per week?  There are already many care homes charging £1000 plus per week but not providing anything like that staffing ratio of 1:5.  I know of one care home where the staffing ratio in the nursing section was one RGN plus one brand-new healthcare assistant to 28 people in need of 24/7 nursing care – neither the RGN nor the healthcare assistant knew much about the word care, though.

This all sounds great, especially when you read that  West Hall care home was only built because Anchor could largely finance it itself through its reserves.

Reserves that have already had a fair old contribution from local authority funds.  An earlier BBC report told us that Surrey County Council paid about £2.5m in 2010 to healthcare providers for beds it did not use.  The authority said then that it was “worried” by the figure paid to health firms Anchor and Care UK but was working to renegotiate the contracts.  “Under the terms of the contracts, the council pays the companies for the use of  1,000 beds. Last year, about 10% of those beds were not needed.”

How long has this been going on?

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Filed under care homes, dementia care

Why I despise the so-called system of care for vulnerable people

I’ve been fairly controlled over recent weeks, months or even years.  I suppose I’ve been waiting and hoping for a chink of light to emerge, for a culture change to emerge, for a way forward to emerge in the so-called system of care that we have allowed to be in place.

However, I am reaching screaming point.  Hardly surprising.  When someone is destroyed because of absent systems of protection, and when it then takes almost 5 years to work your way through to a full understanding of why the so-callled system of care for vulnerable people fails to provide decent care so very often – that’s when you reach screaming point.

Time and time again, the CQC comes up with yet another report as it did today, with a report into the ‘care’ afforded to people with learning disabilities.  Or rather the lack of  care.  I’ve read it all, but there’s not much hope for real change.

Week and month after week and month, our government comes up with …… not one single plan to improve things.

Year after year, the same old same old same old gets published in the press, reported on radio, featured on TV.

Still nothing changes, so I need to scream now.  It won’t change anything – but it may just help me to scream.

[Next section of this particular blog post: Deleted temporarily pending the return of sense to the world of care.]

Therewith, I will leave this one for today.  But not for long.

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Filed under abuse, accountability, care, care homes, Care UK, dementia care, Islington, justice, liability, Local Authority, neglect, nursing, personal responsibility, professional responsibility, suffering

Panorama and Care in the UK

I wasn’t sure whether I could watch tonight’s Panorama programme – not wanting to see yet another TV programme about abuse and neglect in a care home, yet at the same time knowing that I had to watch because of my own experience of care in the UK.  If only because I too had a relative who was neglected in a care home.

Having watched the programme, I begin to understand why Care UK told me that the ‘records’ concerning the employment-status and suitability-status of 5 care workers from the Philippines working at Lennox House care home in London/Islington/Holloway had all been lost – because the laptop containing those records had been stolen.

Pull the other one!!!!  Care UK – pull the other one.  I’ve got another leg left because you’ve only stripped me of one leg so far.  You also stripped me of my life, Care UK.  You stole my life along with the other life that you stole, that of a very able 83 year old with dementia who was place into your care because you claimed to care.  But Care UK didn’t care enough to care.

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Filed under abuse, accountability, care, care homes, Care UK, dementia, dementia care